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Press Release


6 December 2007

Lynne Jones MP warns against Christmas clothing collection con

Lynne Jones, MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, this week joins the new consumer awareness drive across England and Wales to help people check whether a clothing collection is for charity or not.  The aim is to ensure that people who want their donated clothes to go to a charity know what information to look out for on leaflets and bags that come through their letter box in the run-up to Christmas.


While the vast majority of leaflets distributed to households are from genuine registered charities, many are from wholly commercial companies who do not pass any profits on to charities. The awareness drive is being led by a group of bodies including the Charity Commission, Cabinet Office, Trading Standards, local authorities and the Association of Charity Shops.


The Association of Charity Shops estimates that charities lose between £2.5 million and £3 million a year through theft and people giving clothing to commercial organisations they mistakenly think are charities.


Half a million leaflets are being delivered to householders in areas across England and Wales where there has been particular confusion with clothing collections that look charitable but are not. The leaflets give top tips for spotting a genuine charity collection:


·          Does the sack or leaflet say the collection is for a registered charity? If so, what’s the registered charity number – call 0845 3000 218 or visit the online register of charities at to check that it’s genuine.


·          Do they only give a registered company number? This just means that the organisation is registered with Companies House.


·          Is the charity actually named? Be wary of wording that just says ‘families in need’ or ‘sick kids at Christmas’


·          Does the leaflet or bag give a phone number? The absence of a phone number may mean the collectors don’t want to answer questions.


Lynne Jones MP said,


“I want to help people make sure their generosity goes to a genuine charity.  I’d urge everyone to check on the Charity Commission’s website at, or call them on 0845 3000 218, if they have any doubts.”



To speak to Lynne Jones, please call 020 7219 4190


Notes to editors:

For interviews and filming opportunities call:

Charity Commission: Sarah Miller on 020 7674 2366 or 07787 863 015 (out of hours).

Association of Charity Shops: David Moir on 020 7255 4483

For interview bids for Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector call: Cabinet Office press office - Steve Coomber on 0207 276 0317


Colour copies of the awareness leaflet and poster are available.


1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator for charitable activity in England and Wales. See for more information.


2. The Office of the Third Sector sits at the heart of government in the Cabinet Office. It is responsible for government policy towards charities, voluntary groups, social enterprises and other third sector organisations and aims to create the conditions for them to thrive. See


3. The Association for Charity Shops represents charities that run shops as part of their fundraising activities. It has 270 member charities, ranging from the largest national charities to locally based hospices that together run 6,700 shops. In 2007, they will raise £110m for charitable causes. See 


4. Charity Commission spokespeople are available for interview and comment, with regional statistics and data on charities and charitable giving.









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